Kathy Hinde

Music Box Migrations : 2008

Music Box Migrations explores the idea of using a picture as a musical score. Images of birds, bird migration patterns and maps are printed directly onto strips of card. Holes are punched according to chosen points on the images or map. These holes trigger notes when the score is wound through a music box – creating a melody. I regularly run workshops based on this idea, inviting people to tell me about a journey, which I then print out onto a card so the participant can punch their own holes, making music from the route.

The video below starts with a close up photograph of starlings murmurating at Ham Wall, Somerset, followed by a flock of Canada Geese taking off along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, followed by more Somerset starlings, on telegraph lines preparing to murmurate.

Music Box Migrations has also been exhibited as a mechanised version in collaboration with Matthew Olden. Sounds from the music boxes are live sampled and effected by Matthew’s bespoke sound software ‘i am the mighty jungulator’. The jungulator transforms the sounds from the music boxes into a textural, shimmering sonic environment through generative processes designed to control delays, pitch shifts and granulation. The video below was recorded at the site specific outdoor show ‘For The Birds‘.

Here are some pictures of the music box being exhibited at View Gallery in Bristol, with a selection of bird photo and migration route scores.

People making music box journeys at the Merlin Theatre, during the Frome Festival in July 2009.

Kathy has developed an online version of the Piano Migrations music box workshop with digital artist Ed Holroyd which can be visited and played with here.

Music boxes mechanisms like this can be bought online from Grand Illusions.